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Developers and leaders express optimism in downtown grant application

The City of Amsterdam is now officially in the running for a $10 million grant which could be used to transform the city’s downtown area. Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose said he submitted the application for the city on Monday. The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council will make a decision by June 30 as to which entrant within the region will be awarded the grant. Each of the other nine New York State economic development councils will also select one area within their region to receive a share of the total $100 million set aside by NY State as part of it’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

According to guidelines for the initiative, the regional councils will evaluate the applications on a number of criteria including how well the downtown area is defined, it’s ability to serve a sizable population year-round, it’s record of prior and future investment projects, proximity to areas experiencing job growth, policies and quality of life aspects of the municipality, as well as the amount of support from local leaders, businesses, and developers.

The application outlines the past investment made both in the public and private sector as well as containing letters of support from two development companies who have expressed interest in investing in the downtown area.

As the Vice President of Development at KCG Development Group, I am especially optimistic about the future of Amsterdam’s downtown neighborhoods and particularly encouraged by the recent public sector and private sector investments in those areas. When looking for a community to invest in we always look for a mix of housing options and an integrated market with a walkable core.

KCG is currently working with our array of 3rd party professionals and investment groups on the potential for developing community driven multifamily and mixed use developments within the City of Amsterdam.

Anthony Ceroy, Vice President – Development, KCG Development

When looking for a community to invest in, we always look for potential hotel locations in markets that not only have un-served demand, but room for growth potential. Vista Host, Inc, working with Omni Development is currently looking at potential investment projects in the City of Amsterdam and in the Southside downtown area. We believe the Port Jackson community is perfectly situated for a hotel to anchor redevelopment there…the defined scope of the neighborhood is critically attractive, combined with the already visual commitment of the pedestrian bridge connector. Lastly, but critically, Port Jackson/Amsterdam represents a commuter community to the Tri-City area that is essentially untapped. Fantastic potential, and our interest extends well beyond the initial hotel project.

Michael Gulotty, Vice President of Operations, Vista Host, Inc.

Rose said on Thursday that Gulotty’s company is one that he has built a relationship with over several years, and believes is “looking at the whole picture, redeveloping the area, not just one property for the hotel.”

Rose added that he believes the companies will also look at some of the blight issues in the Southside area that may deter visitors and other developers.

The application included one video created by Sustainable Communities and Design LLC which showed architectural illustrations of the potential redevelopment of the old Fiber Glass Industries building into a luxury apartment complex.

Other than for the old FGI building, the application does not include detailed plans for any other specific projects. According to Rose, the community that wins the grant will be provided both state and private planning experts who will help define the projects and determine how the grant money is allocated.

When asked whether any of the proposed development would continue should the city not receive the grant, Rose replied, “I don’t think it would necessarily kill the projects.”

Rose said he believes influx of public funds will be necessary for development projects to succeed in the downtown area, however other funding sources from the state could be sought after if the city doesn’t win the DRI grant.

The application also includes endorsements from Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa, The Amsterdam Common Council, Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, NY State Senator George Amedore, NY State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, as well as many other area political, community, and business leaders.

About Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of AnthemWebsites.com LLC which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.

2 Responses to Developers and leaders express optimism in downtown grant application

  1. Steven says:

    The real opportunity isn’t downtown per se, but instead at the intersection of Prospect and Church Street. That’s the bullseye where you have capacity, wide flexibility for adaptive reuse, walkability, and a mixture of public and private sector interests, including non-profits, businesses, and industries.

    People are attached to Main Street projects for emotional reasons, not practical ones, and it’s hiding other opportunities in plain sight.

    • Tim Becker says:

      If you mean The Rao Center/Walter Elwood Museum complex, I would agree that there’s great opportunity there and it’s kind of a shame that it was not included within the “downtown” boundaries in this application. But you do have the Clock Tower and FGI buildings included in the application which is in the general area you described. I think the waterfront aspect is what is leading most planners to focus on the historical “downtown” area which I don’t think is unwarranted. But I would agree we should looking at other areas as well. I would add Market St, the five corners area, and maybe even someday the west end entrance area as places that could be developed considering the high volume of traffic they are already getting.